Thursday, June 19, 2014

Marketing Strategy: The Next Book

By Julie Musil, @juliemusil

Part of the Indie Author Series

I released my book at the end of January. It was an exciting, busy time. Shortly after the release, I felt a flood of emotions: elation, anxiety, fear. My book was released! Hooray! Then I thought, now what?

I had two choices. 1) Market my book to death, or 2) Work on the next book.

Easy choice. I began working on my next book, which was on draft #9. I dove back into edits, using helpful craft books like Fire Up Your Fiction and The Word Loss Diet. I sent it off to my freelance editor. I connected with my cover designer and began that process.

It’s funny how quickly our brains can switch focus. My recent book release was not forgotten, but I wasn’t obsessing over it. My passion transferred to my next book.

Elizabeth Craig wrote a great post about “Walking away from the stress of the Big Release.” She wrote about how she doesn’t do a lot of book promotion. She said, “The biggest thing that I do to promote is to write more books.” She highlighted an interview between Joanna Penn and Jane Friedman, where Penn said, “…most books sell very few copies every day, whether you’re indie published or traditionally published, but hopefully that continues for a long time. That is the business model, small over time.” Friedman responded, “I think independent authors have been so good at pointing out to the larger community, ‘Let’s not focus on the first three months, because the real potential is over the career.’”

In Anne R. Allen’s post about how book launches have changed in the digital age, she wrote, “So what’s the best way to launch a book in this new publishing world? Get to work on the next one.”

The more I study indie publishing, the more I learn about the long tail. In James Scott Bell’s post, “We are the long tail marketers now,” he wrote “What is long tail marketing? Very simply, it holds that the profitability of a business (usually small business) is directly proportional to the number of products it has for sale over time. The more products—factoring in quality, of course—the longer the tail.” (By the way, his book Self Publishing Attack is packed with great advice.)

Working on the next book not only relieves pressure about the current book out there, it also sets indie authors up with their own back lists. It sets them up for the long tail.

Marketing is important, but so is output. Through my studies, I’ve learned this winning strategy:

1. Release a quality book (professionally edited and formatted, with a great cover)

2. Write the next book (or edit one that’s already written)

3. Release the next quality book

4. Repeat

A bit of caution: we hear Write more books! Release them quickly! Make more money! If you feel rushed to put out a book that isn’t ready…STOP! Quality books take time and effort. We don’t want to damage our careers by pushing out a product we can’t be proud of. Work steadily on the next project, but don’t rush it.

Have you indie published yet? If you decide to go this route, do you have other manuscripts awaiting your attention? Have you heard about the long tail of publishing? Any tips you’d like to add about moving on to the next book? Please share!

Julie Musil writes from her rural home in Southern California, where she lives with her husband and three sons. She’s an obsessive reader who loves stories that grab the heart and won’t let go. Her Young Adult novels, The Summer of Crossing Lines and The Boy Who Loved Fire, are available now. For more information, or to stop by an say Hi, please visit Julie on her blog, on Twitter, and on Facebook.

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  1. Janice, thanks for having me here today!

  2. This is great advice for any writer, indie, trad, or not-yet-published. When you complete any major stage of a project, it's a good idea to step away and work on something else for a while. Nothing is more stressful than having just the one basketful of eggs.

    1. true. It's therapeutic to switch gears and work on the next project.

  3. I think this is good advice for all writers. Just forwarded to a friend who is stressing over her first book release.

    1. Carol, thanks for forwarding to your friend. Hopefully it'll help!

  4. Great tips, Julie. Working on your next book does help, at least it has for me :)

    1. Sherri, I swear, it's the cure for writers stress. At least for me!